The moment we’ve all been waiting for is upon us. In their move to bring more transparency to social, Facebook has made all active ads available to the public – but this is nothing to panic about! Read on to learn how to use this new change to your advantage.
When marketers first found out about the change there was a lot of panic. We’ve become so accustomed to guarding our ads like answers on a test that it became hard to see past the initial shock and welcome the change with open arms. Now that the dust has settled and we’ve been able to explore the update firsthand we’re able to take a look at this new change and give it our stamp of approval.
How to See All Dark Posts on Facebook
Accessing this information is fairly simple. To take a look at a Page’s active ads look at the menu in the left-hand corner and click “Info and Ads.”
1. Uncover Your Competition’s Facebook Advertising Strategy
This is HUGE. Facebook has given you a key to unlock your competition’s paid activities. Before now, it was largely a guessing game. Sure, there were times where you may have been targeted by your competitors and may be seen a couple promoted posts here and there. But a look into all active running ads, adds a whole new layer to your competitive analysis.
Being able to take a look at what your competition is investing in helps you see into their strategy. Since you’re likely targeting the same audience, it’s essential to investigate how you can make your ads stand out from the rest. Maybe based on your findings you’ll want to start promoting the same features your competition is to win over customers in the consideration phase of the sales funnel. Or maybe you’ll decide to go a different route entirely. The point is, with access to their ads as an entire package you’ll be able to clearly understand what value propositions they are using to lure in customers and use this intel to evaluate your own unique selling points. Can you compete? These are all strategic thought processes that weren’t available until now.
Who your competition is targeting – this won’t be disclosed, however, based on the messaging it should be fairly clear who the ad was directed to. What you will be able to see, however, is exactly which country is seeing which ads. Knowing what types of ads are running where can help you understand which parts of the world you competitor is going after and how. Are they further down the funnel? Or are they focusing on brand building? Use these details to inform your own targeting strategy.
What they are putting budget behind – are they investing in lead gen activities, or are they pushing content marketing to raise awareness about their brand in a specific region?
How many ads are they running – keep in mind Facebook only allows you to view active ads, past ads will not be archived. That means you get a clear picture of how many ads are running at present and compare that to your own ads frequency.
How Many Facebook Ad Variations they’re testing – you not only get to see what ads they are running, but you get insight into how many different versions they’ve created. Maybe you can apply some of the same ad tests to your own strategy.
What Products They’re Promoting – By taking a look at your competitor’s treasure trove of ads you can see exactly which products they are advertising. Are they seasonal? Maybe new entirely? Find out what their running in which regions so you can develop a counter-attack.
Fortunately, with Socialbakers you’ll be able to fill in the gaps with exclusive ads data that will give you the full picture. Find out how your spending compares to your industry, country or region, and add your insights to your qualitative competitive analysis to create a Facebook campaign that will bring results –try free now.
2. Get Inspiration from Ads on Other Pages
With other mediums, finding inspiration was easy. If creating a television spot you could hop over to YouTube and watch commercials that have gone down in history for capturing the attention of audiences. You could drive by a billboard, or hear the same radio ad the rest of the world could hear.
With social media ads? Not so much. Dark posts made this domain extremely private, which can often lead to a dry-spell of inspiration and innovation. It’s hard to break out of your creative routine if you’re working in a vacuum. After all, Facebook ads are all about testing. Don’t be afraid to test some of what you see. That doesn’t meet plagiarize, it just means you have the ability to artfully steal what you like and let the results speak for themselves.
Browsing through Facebook ads in or outside your industry is a great way to expand your creative horizons. Maybe you’ll see ads you’ve made that you thought would help break through the crowded News Feed are actually overpopulated. Or perhaps you’ll find some copy gems that you would like to test out yourself. There is an endless number of ways you can use this newly discovered insight to spice it up in the Ads Manager department.
3. Acquire Trust with Your Audience
Competition can be stressful, but it also makes you better at what you do. Just knowing that your competitors are watching, or that any prospects or current customers can act as a watchdog should make you think twice about your ads. It may sound a bit restricting, but opening the doors to your workshop could potentially motivate you to always go the extra mile. After all, your audience just got a lot a lot bigger which means you’ll want to only put your best content out there. If you’re publishing something that you don’t feel comfortable showing people outside of your target group then chances are it shouldn’t go live at all.
It’s important to realize that your competition won’t be the only ones with the ability to view your ads. Your current customers, as well as prospective buyers, may also take a peak. But this can really only work to your advantage if you’re playing by the rules. With so many online scams out there, people are becoming a lot more careful online. They aren’t going to put their credit card information in just anywhere. It’s very likely that your running ads could be used as a way to screen your company to make sure it’s legitimate or even as a way to see if what you are offering on your website matches what you’re posting online.
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4. Your Metrics Will Not Be Skewed
The election interference in the United States was an unfortunate example of what could happen if there is a shortage of visibility in the social media advertising world. Since this news came out, social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have been hard at work developing new systems that could prevent unethical advertising from happening again. It’s important to note that Facebook’s new policy treats political advertisers a lot differently from businesses with plans to archive up to 7 years worth of ads, with plans of disclosing some targeting stats. And rightfully so. For the meantime, non-political Pages will only have their active ads displayed with the filter-by country option.
Change is always hard to adapt to, but it’s safe to say that adding a layer of transparency to our Facebook advertising is a step in the right direction. With the ability to unlock your competition’s Facebook ads marketers will have valuable information to inspire future campaigns. But qualitative analysis is just a piece of the puzzle, you need data to fill in the gaps. With Ads Benchmarks, you’ll have a chance to backup your social media plan with numbers that will show you how your Facebook spending stacks up against your competition so you can stand above the rest.
Be sure to check out our complete guide on Facebook advertising to polish up your strategy before you start your competitive analysis.